Born in Colombo, Judith Dunbar spends her teenage years at boarding school, while her beloved mother and younger sister live abroad with her father. When her new friend Loveday Carey-Lewis invites Judith home for the weekend to Nancherrow, the Carey-Lewises' beautiful estate on the Cornish coast, it is love at first sight. She falls in love too with the generous Carey-Lewises themselves.
With their generosity and kindness, Judith grows from naive girl to confident young woman, basking in the warm affection of a surrogate family whose flame burns brightly.
But it is a flame soon to be extinguished in the gathering storm of war. And Judith herself has far to travel before at last ...coming home.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 1040 pages, n/a
- Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
- Publication Date: 04/07/2005
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780340752470
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by jlapac
I read this book over and over, periodically (not constantly). I like it because of the vivid descriptions as well as the great characters. Most recently I have read parts of it twice as I tend to blow it through the last half of the book pretty quickly, especially after not reading it for awhile. The last half is really good, but the parts I skip are the descriptions, which are worth savoring.<br/><br/>The story starts in Porthkerris, Cornwall in about 1935 with the main character, Judith, leaving a council school to start the winter term (after Christmas) at a new boarding school. Her mother and baby sister are going back to Ceylon to rejoin the girls' father after 4 years of being on their own in England. Judith's family is a British-India family and her father works in Ceylon. The story tracks Judith's life over a 6 year period after her mother returns to Ceylon, as World War II starts and eventually ends.<br/><br/>This is a long book - 900 pages, but a real page turner and well worth the thickness of the book. It is a typical Rosamunde Pilcher novel, but longer. It is a great airplane/travel book.
Review by AdonisGuilfoyle
Rosamunde, darling, your novels are my guilty pleasure, but a thousand pages of middle class bleating is rather trying on the old sensibilities. I really only bought a second hand copy of this weighty tome because I could have sworn that I'd abandoned the story midway through, many years back, only to keep remember rather more and more as I read on. I think I must have given up with only the last two hundred pages to go. That'll teach me.Anyway. While I raved about <i>The Shell Seekers</i>, I found myself rather more critical of <i>Coming Home</i>. I do love the Carey-Lewises, cliché ridden ensemble of romantic stereotypes though they are, and their beautiful Du Maurier style house in Cornwall, Nancherrow, but I could cheerfully throttle hearty heroine Judith, and the jolly hockey-sticks dialogue spouted by each and every character doesn't help. Judith is a horrid combination of Austen's Fanny Price and Gaskell's Margaret Hale, insufferably noble and beloved by all (she also has a curious combination of blonde hair and dark eyelashes, but at least she doesn't have violet eyes, like her friend Loveday). Packed off to boarding school at fourteen, Judith is plagued by a series of unfortunate events which leave her 'independent', not to mention 'pretty' (Pilcher's highest accolade for her female characters) and smart. She is assimilated by the aforementioned upper class Carey-Lewises, who drift through life on a cloud of liberal lifestyles and idyllic Cornish landscapes, bestowing the fairy dust of charm and patronage on assorted hangers-on. Daughter Loveday is at school with Judith, but there is also golden boy Edward and - wait for it - Athena, plus parents Diana and the Colonel, in the family of posh eccentrics. Everything is <i>too</i> this and <i>frightfully</i> that, and everyone is a <i>darling</i> or a <i>dear</i>. I think I might have found them all too, too amusing if Judith was more of an antidote, but she simply drips with the same ridiculous phrases. Did people really talk like that in real life, and if they did, please tell me that nobody this side of the 1950s still does? And the period-accurate, but still grating, insistence that all 'pretty' young women must ultimately wish to get married and have babies, also sets my teeth on edge - Judith/Rosamunde refers to a senior female officer in the WRNS during the War as an 'embittered old hag of a spinster' and a 'prune-faced woman with a power complex' because she puts duty before giving Judith the weekend off to lunch with Diana and Loveday! The author is more of a storyteller than a wordsmith, granted, but writing 'her knees literally turned to water' (are you sure about that?) and starting sentence after sentence (<i>after sentence</i>) with 'as well' are not easily overlooked after the first five hundred pages. In fact, the whole novel could have been comfortably reduced to five hundred pages, because bar a handful of unlikely plot twists and hackneyed romantic devices, nothing much really happens. Rosamunde Pilcher could learn a lot from Daphne Du Maurier!An epic aga saga for readers who suffer from rose-tinted nostalgia.
Review by crazeedi73
Excellent, just excellent, never wanted it to end